In what amounts to a truly remarkable achievement, the last seven vintages of the Noble Late Harvest from Distell-owned Fleur du Cap have been rated 5 Stars in Platter’s and an invitation to attend a vertical tasting was accepted with alacrity.
Perhaps the biggest insight for me was that this wine is not specific in terms of either variety or site. Winemaker Pieter Badenhorst, at Fleur du Cap since the 2007 harvest, says this shows that the team is “not afraid to experiment” but you suspect that the unreliable nature of botrytis infection under local conditions has at least something to do with it.
Whatever the grapes, these are typically picked at around 40⁰ Balling and the resulting wines range in residual sugar from a low of 182.5g/l in the case of the 2011 to a high of 245g/l in the case of the 2012.
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2006
100% Riesling. Lime through dried apricot, burnt sugar, some mushroom. Great intensity, zesty acidity – still remarkably youthful.
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2007
100% Riesling. Dried apricot and mushroom. A powerful wine – appears very sweet and lacks the detail of the previous vintage.
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2008
58% Semillon, 42% Riesling. More subtle and apparently less weighty than previous vintages. Citrus and really good botrytis character – overall impression is savoury rather than sweet.
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2009
90% Chenin Blanc, rest Riesling, Semillon. Dried peach and apricot, some orange. Very rich and thick textured although zippy acidity provides some relief.
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2010
84% Chenin Blanc, 11% Semillon, 5% Muscat. A pretty floral note on the nose, peach and some spice on the palate. Subtle with good balance.
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2011
Current release – price: R119 per 375ml bottle
76% Chenin Blanc, 13% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Chardonnay. White and yellow peach, some mushroom and spice. Noticeably lighter in body with a really long, dry finish.
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2012
97% Chenin Blanc, rest Chardonay, Sauvignon Blanc. Peach, spice and touch of mushroom. Appears particularly plush, sweet and rich.